Local & Regional

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Oklahoma House Democrats are not jumping at Gov. Mary Fallin's call to back the Step Up Oklahoma plan.

House Minority Leader Steve Kouplen had his own take on Fallin calling it a lifeline from the business community.

"A drowning man will grab any lifeline, whether it’s a good one or not," Kouplen said. "The one that’s been thrown to us, we think it needs to be tweaked."

Rep. Emily Virgin said negotiations that began last month continue, but threats to health care, education or human service funding won’t push them along.

State Impact-Oklahoma

 

 

Gov. Mary Fallin urged Oklahoma legislators Monday to approve a broad swath of tax increases to pay for a $5,000 pay raise for teachers and stabilize a state budget plagued by years of shortfalls.

Instead of touting her legacy during her eighth and final State of the State address, Oklahoma's first female governor asked lawmakers to back a package of policy and tax changes dubbed "Step Up Oklahoma." It's been endorsed by a group of Oklahoma's civic and business leaders, she said.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Oklahoma Watch

 

The Oklahoma State Department of Health is preparing to lay off more than 150 employees next month due to budget woes.

Data obtained by The Oklahoman shows 43 registered nurses are scheduled to lose their jobs at local health departments. The data also shows 28 patient care assistants, 16 licensed practical nurses and 50 office workers are also expected to be laid off.

Fire Damages Tulsa Used Car Dealership

Feb 5, 2018
Google Street View

It was not a good deal for the Good Deal Auto dealership in Tulsa. The used car-lot’s offices at 11th and Joplin caught fire this morning, in Tulsa.

The offices were pretty much gutted, according to Tulsa Fire officials. Investigators are looking for the cause. No one was injured.  The blaze was confined to the office area. 

Muskogee K9 Dies on Duty

Feb 5, 2018
Muskogee Police

On February 3rd, Lt. William Peters and his K9 partner Indie reported to work as they have for the last 4 years. Neither of them knowing how the night would end. 

 

Geologists say several earthquakes hit northern Oklahoma early Monday, but there are no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

The U.S. Geological Survey reports a pair of earthquakes, both with a preliminary magnitude of 3.7, hit Monday morning near Hennessey, about 45 miles northwest of Oklahoma City. Another earthquake with a magnitude of 2.5 struck in the same area later Monday.

Thousands of earthquakes have been recorded in Oklahoma in recent years. Many have been linked to the underground injection of wastewater from oil and natural gas production.

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An Oklahoma City oil and gas industry repairman has pleaded guilty in federal court to defrauding a Texas company of more than $400,000 by submitting bogus invoices.

Federal prosecutors say 54-year-old Luis Enrique Damazo pleaded guilty Friday to mail fraud.

Damazo worked as a repair technician for Beaumont, Texas-based Dexter Field Services, a business that provides leak detection, environmental monitoring and consulting services energy industry clients.

In the local news:

  • Governor Fallin delivers the State of the State later today.
  • Wintry weather causes problems in far northeast Oklahoma. More such weather expected here tomorrow.
  • Steady as we go! We have the latest on the regional economy.

Wintry Mix Likely on Tuesday

Feb 5, 2018
NWS Tulsa

Single digit wind chills are occurring across portions of northeast Oklahoma and northwest Arkansas. However, winds are light across the region, and this will limit the wind chill threat. South winds will gust to near 25 mph this afternoon, along and north of I-44. The strong winds will raise fire weather concerns, however the cooler temperatures resulting from the latest arctic cold front will keep humidities from dropping too low.

KWGS News

   

The Oklahoma Department of Human Services has settled a wrongful-death lawsuit saying the agency was responsible for the death of a 5-year-old girl who was murdered by her father in 2011.

The Oklahoman reports that the agency settled the 2013 suit filed by the maternal grandparents of Serenity Deal for $475,000.

Serenity was beaten to death shortly after being placed in the care of her father at the recommendation of department workers after the state removed her from foster care.

State Forestry Service

 

Firefighters say wildfires have scorched thousands of acres of dry grasslands in northeastern Oklahoma

Dozens of firefighters fought a grassfire along Oklahoma Highway 20 in Osage County Saturday evening that officials say burned up to 10,000 acres. Officials say another large fire in Mayes County burned hundreds of acres more.

Authorities say no homes or other structures were damaged in the fires and no injuries were reported.

The Oklahoma National Guard used helicopters to drop large buckets of water to help fight the Osage County fire.

Wikimedia

 

A pay raise for teachers plus tax hikes to pay for it and patch budget holes will be among the top priorities facing the Oklahoma Legislature when it convenes Monday for its 2018 session.

Republican Gov. Mary Fallin will deliver her eighth and final State of the State address to the GOP-controlled Legislature early Monday afternoon and is likely to focus on those two issues, which she has made a priority in recent years, along with efforts to curb the state's growing prison population.

Wintery Weather Possible on Tuesday

Feb 4, 2018
Jonathan Hogue-Wikimedia

Isolated thunderstorms will be possible Monday night into Tuesday, mainly along and south of I-40. Severe weather is not expected. An upper storm system will interact with cold air surging into the region on Tuesday to bring the potential for winter weather. A light wintry mix of ice, sleet and snow is expected across northeast Oklahoma into northwest Arkansas thru Tuesday evening. Some travel impacts are possible. Another strong cold front is expected by the end of the week.

KWGS News File Photo

A Republican lawmaker in Oklahoma wants some sex offenders to undergo so-called chemical castration under a bill he's introduced to add Oklahoma to a list of states where the punishment is on the books, but is rarely carried out.

State Rep. Rick West of Heavener says he filed the bill at the request of a constituent and that he fully intends to push for its passage. It's likely to face strong opposition, even in a conservative state with a tough-on-crime reputation.

DHS Settles Case

Feb 4, 2018
KWGS News File photo

The Oklahoma Department of Human Services has settled a wrongful-death lawsuit saying the agency was responsible for the death of a 5-year-old girl who was murdered by her father in 2011.

The Oklahoman reports that the agency settled the 2013 suit filed by the maternal grandparents of Serenity Deal for $475,000.

Serenity was beaten to death shortly after being placed in the care of her father at the recommendation of department workers after the state removed her from foster care.

OHP-Facebook

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says six people have been killed on state roads in separate crashes.

Troopers say 76-year-old Tommie Ann Scott was killed Saturday in a crash east of Soper in Choctaw County.

Earlier Saturday, a three-vehicle crash near Ada in Pontotoc County left 53-year-old Richard L. Campbell, 51-year-old Timothy L.R. Campbell and 56-year-old Dathan R. Lane dead.

On Friday, two unidentified people were killed in a collision east of Okay in Wagoner County.

Scott and the two unidentified motorists were killed in single-vehicle wrecks.

Kendall Smith scored 24 points, including the clinching free throws in the final seconds, and Oklahoma State held on to beat seventh-ranked Kansas 84-79. Cameron McGriff added 20 points and Jeffrey Carroll had 15 for the Cowboys. Udoka Azubuike had 20 points for the Jayhawks, who have lost three times in Allen Fieldhouse this season.

Oklahoma House

  KWGS will have live coverage of the State of the State about 12:45 p.m. on Monday.

On Monday afternoon, Gov. Mary Fallin will slowly make her way through a crowd of legislators and other officials on the floor of the House chamber before stepping up to deliver her eighth and final State of the State address.

It will be the two-term governor’s last chance to define the state’s policy agenda as she sees it and inspire lawmakers and citizens to follow her lead.

What happens in subsequent months will help shape her legacy.

OKC Police

Police say a body found outside an Oklahoma City home where officers fatally shot a man was the man's wife.

Oklahoma City police Sgt. Gary Knight said Friday that the body was found in a van and identified as that of 51-year-old Jennifer Young.

Police say they found the body on Thursday, after 56-year-old William Young was shot when he opened fire on an arriving officer.

Knight says Jennifer Young's daughter was found wounded at the scene. Investigators believe William Young shot both before police were called.

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An arrest warrant has been issued in the deaths of a couple found in eastern Oklahoma last year.

Officials say that the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation is seeking 45-year-old Harlon Lee Foss in connection to the deaths of his grandparents, Virgil and Rowena Ingraham of Oklahoma City.

The Muskogee Phoenix reports that the couple's remains were discovered Nov. 21 in McIntosh County, near I-40. Authorities say no one has seen Foss since the bodies were discovered.

Tulsa County Booking Photo

An Oklahoma man charged with a hate crime in the fatal shooting of his Lebanese neighbor will not testify during his murder trial.

After prosecutors rested their case Thursday, 63-year-old Stanley Majors told the judge he's decided not to take the witness stand.

Majors is charged with first-degree murder and a hate crime in the 2016 death of 37-year-old Khalid Jabara in Tulsa.

He has pleaded not guilty. Defense attorneys say he had untreated schizophrenia and experienced a "psychotic episode" during the homicide, although he's been found competent for trial.

Supplied

Tulsa Police are still looking for clues into the death of 21 year-old  Samantha Barlow. She was found shot to death on Thursday evening, in the parking lot of Woodland Hills Mall. She was found next to her car between the J.C. Penney’s store and the Cheesecake Factory.

While a gun was found nearby, police have not ruled the death a suicide.  Mall video did not capture the incident.

Barlow was from McAlester, but worked weekends in Tulsa.

OHP-Facebook

One person is in jail after a high speed chase with Oklahoma Highway Patrol Troopers. Shots were fired during the chase, but no one was hit. It is unclear, at this point, who did the shooting; the suspect, the troopers or both.

It started around midnight, when a patrolman attempted to pull over a car for a traffic violation. That was in the Catoosa area near the Hard Rock Casino.

NOAA

An exhibit in the works at the Woody Guthrie Center will put visitors in the middle of one of the worst Dust Bowl–era storms.

The Dust Bowl Experience uses virtual-reality headsets to show the April 14, 1935, dust storm that came to be known as Black Sunday.

"It’s not something that we have created in a studio that isn’t based on facts. Everything is based on the actual, historical events, and this is actually what people had to live through," said Woody Guthrie Center Executive Director Deana McCloud.

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Industry experts believe the U.S. may be the world’s top crude oil producer this year, a possible boon for Oklahoma’s energy-reliant economy.

A forecast from the International Energy Agency expects the U.S. will produce more than 10 million barrels a day later this year. Oil and Gas Journal economist Conglin Xu said that will see the U.S. overtake Saudi Arabia and possibly Russia.

"Russia is currently the top producer of the world. This, of course, assumes that OPEC and non-OPEC constraints remain in place and oil prices keeping a relatively high level," Xu said.

VAB

 

Flights involving the main training aircraft at an Oklahoma air base have been grounded for the second time in three months as military officials investigate several incidents involving a lack of oxygen on board.

The "operational pause" of all the T-6 Texan aircrafts at the Vance Air Force Base began Thursday.

 

 

Two national civil rights groups have joined a federal lawsuit accusing dozens of Oklahoma sheriffs, judges and court clerks of operating a debt-collection scheme that preys on poor people by sending them to jail if they can't pay court costs.

Georgetown University's Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection and Civil Rights Corps joined an amended complaint filed late Thursday in Tulsa.

 

A new study finds that a major trigger of man-made earthquakes rattling Oklahoma is how deep — not just how much — fracking wastewater is injected.

Scientists analyzed more than 10,000 wastewater injection wells where 96 billion gallons of fluid — leftover from hydraulic fracturing — are pumped yearly.

They say the amount of wastewater injected and the depth are key to understanding the quake outbreak, which includes the magnitude 5.8 Pawnee quake in 2016.

Majors Won't Take Stand in Hate/Murder Trial

Feb 2, 2018
KWGS News photo

 

An Oklahoma man charged with a hate crime in the fatal shooting of his Lebanese neighbor will not testify during his murder trial.

After prosecutors rested their case Thursday, 63-year-old Stanley Majors told the judge he's decided not to take the witness stand.

Majors is charged with first-degree murder and a hate crime in the 2016 death of 37-year-old Khalid Jabara in Tulsa.

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